Lake Jem Farms Turf Grass And Sod

Zoysia Turf & Zoysia Sod

EMPIRE Turf™ Zoysia grass elevates the standards and expectation of homeowners for their lawns. EMPIRE Turf™ combines soft-to-the-touch feel with lush green color and fine, tight blade growth. Visually, EMPIRE Turf™ is a very attractive turfgrass for residential landscapes. Homeowners also appreciate its maintenance advantages. This turfgrass accommodates a variety of activities without suffering extensive wear and tear. You might not expect turfgrass this soft to be this strong. EMPIRE Turf™ is as hardy as it is attractive, and has a deep, thick root structure. It is more drought tolerant than most varieties of zoysia grass, once established. In addition, slower vertical growth, plus natural chinch bug and chemical resistances, mean your lawn will require less maintenance, mowing and water than with other types of warm season grass. In some instances, once naturalized to the local climate, EMPIRE Turf™ requires minimal irrigation.

These reduced maintenance needs and durability are EMPIRE’s hallmarks. EMPIRE Turf™ was originally developed in Brazil, and thrives in harsh tropical climates, yet also exhibits excellent cold hardiness. EMPIRE is one of the few grasses rated to perform well in all zones, and it can thrive in varying soils and climatic conditions.

Durable enough for professional use, EMPIRE is also a favorite of golf courses, theme parks, master planned communities, office complexes and other commercial areas.

Wanting to do your part for the environment? There is another benefit to using EMPIRE Turf™ – you can earn “green credit points” toward making your house “Green Certified”. The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) has established guidelines and opportunities that if followed could get your house a “Green Certification”. Landscaping with EMPIRE Turf™ can earn you up to 9 points if you follow FGBC criteria when installing.

Zoysia History

Zoysia grasses came to the U.S. from Asia and are used throughout a good portion of America. Some great strides have been taken to improve zoysia fairly recently by turf breeders. Some improvements include quicker establishment, insect resistance, and superior overall performance. Zoysia grasses have been adapted to different soil types and they are able to tolerate, traffic, shade and salt. The sod provided by zoysia is very dense and resistant to weeds, but some pests can cause problems.

The maintenance of zoysia differs from other grasses used in Florida lawns. When maintenance is not done properly, poor results are likely to follow.

Zoysia Species

There are a number of zoysia species that are used in commercial and residential landscapes, golf courses, and athletic fields. There is great variation in texture, leaf color, and rate of establishment.

Maintaining a lawn properly is the best way to alleviate pest issues and maintain the health of a lawn. Zoysia need fertilizer in order to maintain healthy growth and adequate cover characteristics. Irrigation may be needed in times of extended drought. It is possible that pesticides may be necessary, but usually their use is minimal if the lawn is properly maintained.

There are number of different zoysia species, but we have found that EMPIRE Turf™ has the most desirable characteristics for Orlando area zoysia sod. 

EMPIRE Turf™ Zoysia

EMPIRE Turf™ zoysia grass has gained popularity in Florida in recent years. It has a texture that is similar to “El Toro” and its growth is very dense. It maintains an attractive green color and it becomes established at a moderate rate. It performs well in clay and sandy soil types and its rhizomes and stolons have aggressive growth. You can mow it with a conventional rotary mower since it has broad leaves and open growth. It is best used in sunny areas, since other types of zoysia are better for shade. EMPIRE Turf™ zoysia has been successfully planted throughout the state of Florida. 

Zoysia Grass Establishment

EMPIRE Turf™ zoysia needs to be planted vegetatively by sprigs, plugs, or sod. No seed is commercially available. Proper preparation of the site prior to planting is vital for successful establishment.


Since the rate of establishment of zoysia is slower than St. Augustine, plugs are normally planted on 10 inch centers. Plugs are planted 10 inches apart in a row and the rows are also 10 inches apart. This relatively close spacing results in covering occurring more rapidly. Depending on how it is maintained, it will take one full season until complete coverage is achieved. Plugs must be placed firmly into the soil and then watered. During the time in which the plugs are growing the soil must stay moist until zoysia becomes well rooted. Weeds that crop up should be removed from the spaces between the plugs.


Planting sprigs is labor intensive, but it’s an effective way to get an established lawn. Fresh sprigs that have a minimum of two nodes must be planted in six inch rows. The sprigs should be covered with 1 ½ inches of soil with a portion of each sprig having light exposure. Sprigs can be pressed into the soil with a roller. Soil must be moist until new growth starts and the area is covered completely.


You can create an instant lawn by laying down our EMPIRE Turf™ zoysia sod. When you lay sod, the competition from weeds is markedly reduced since there won’t be any bare ground. Nevertheless, the zoysia sod is not established at this point, so it’s not safe for any type of foot traffic. The roots need to extend into the soil for it to be established. Zoysia sod must be placed over soil that is bare and most in a staggered pattern similar to the way bricks are laid, making sure any open cracks are avoided. The new sod must be watered twice daily until the sod is established. This will normally take about three weeks. 

Check out this video to learn more about EMPIRE Turf™ zoysia grass:

Maintenance Of Zoysia Sod


Fertilization is vital for a lawn to remain healthy. Fertilization and other practices have an influence on the lawn’s health and reduce susceptibility to stresses including diseases, insects, and weeds. You should perform a soil test to determine its pH and the type of nutrients that are available in the soil.In particular, it should be noted that phosphorus is often abundant in Florida lawns, so it may not need to be added via a fertilizer. In general, the first application of fertilizer should occur in the early part of April in Central Florida. Zoysia responds best to frequently applied smaller amounts of fertilizer as opposed to applying large quantities infrequently.Zoysia should get at least three applications of fertilizer year. Fertilizer should be applied when the growth rate has declined noticeably. Zoysia requires both nitrogen and potassium in its fertilizer at equal rates. During period of excessive rain potassium tends to leach away and may need more frequent application. Zoysia slowly becomes green in the spring so avoid fertilization until it is fully green, since frost injury can occur if it is green and a frost occurs. Avoid fertilizing late in the year because this can retard regrowth in the ensuing spring.

In soil with a high pH( pH greater than 7.0) leaf blades that are yellow can indicate a deficiency of manganese or iron. Applying these nutrients can make the lawn turn green in cases of elevated pH. However, iron will not be a substitute for nitrogen deficiency which can also cause yellowing.


When fertilized properly zoysia grass will need frequent mowing in the summer months to maintain the best appearance. Normally zoysia will require weekly mowing in the summer or when its height reaches 3 ½ inches. Zoysia should be cut to a 2 inch height using a rotary mower. Empire Zoysia leaves are coarse and can be somewhat difficult to mow. You should not collect clippings subsequent to mowing, since they don’t cause thatch buildup and are readily degraded.


EMPIRE Turf™ zoysia grass will turn brown and go dormant in drought conditions, which can occur in less than a week. It will stay dormant for an extended time period in drought conditions and it will regain its color when drought conditions cease.

The optimal way to water an established lawn is as it is needed. Irrigation is necessary when the blades of the grass start to wilt or fold up, when it turns a bluish gray color or when footprints are visible after someone has walked on the lawn. You should apply approximately 0.75 inches of water which will be enough to moisten most of the roots.

Managing Thatch

A thick layer of thatch will normally develop after the EMPIRE Turf™ zoysia sod has been established for several years. This occurs more rapidly when it has received too much fertilizer. The thatch must be mechanically removed to maintain the appearance of the grass. Most often, this is accomplished by utilizing a core aerator once every two years. Remember to keep the nitrogen levels at recommended levels by avoiding overfertilization to keep thatch build up to a minimum. 


One of zoysia’s best qualities is it resistance to weed invasion as a result of its dense and thick growth. Disease and insects can still damage zoysia, resulting in voids where weeds are able to invade. Fortunately, zoysia tolerates many herbicides that are effective in eliminating these pests.

Contact one of our sod experts for more Information or request an estimate

Or Call 352-383-7196